PITTSFIELD — Maine Central Institute students will participate in the school-wide portion of the national Poetry Out Loud competition at 7 p.m. Wednesday at the Pittsfield Community Theatre. The event is free and open to the public.

Created by the National Endowment for the Arts and the Poetry Foundation, Poetry Out Loud encourages students to learn about poetry through memorization and performance. It helps students master public speaking skills, build self-confidence, and learn about their literary heritage.

The program uses a pyramid structure that begins at the classroom level. Winners will advance to the school-wide competition, then to state competition, and ultimately to national finals. MCI students finished their class competitions before winter break.

The school started participating in the contest in 2008 and has since incorporated the contest into the curriculum. All students participate as part of their English classes. This year, students also created art pieces to match their poems, the pieces will be on display at the theatre. The MC of the event will be Jorgi Young, the 2011 winner of the MCI’s school-wide competition.

For more information, call 487-5915 or visit poetryoutloud.org.

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